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Business & Economics

Creating a thriving (and sustainable) South Dakota tourism industry

Brook Kaufman
Seth Tupper

This interview is from SDPB's daily public-affairs show, In the Moment, hosted by Lori Walsh.

During the pandemic much of the United States saw low tourism numbers. It was the opposite in South Dakota where numbers were strong in 2020 and 2021. The growth continues, but the anomaly of the pandemic may impact the official state visitor numbers this season. Brook Kaufman is president and CEO of Visit Rapid City.

“We just bought a forecast report for the Rapid City area," Kaufman says. "They’re predicting a one percent dip compared to last year. It’s still going to be a very strong year. We’re going to see a lot of rubber-tire market. It’s a great market to be in from a tourism perspective.”

Tourism created 7,500 jobs in Pennington County last year. Kaufman says one of the biggest challenges this year is going to be growing a viable workforce. The first week in May is National Travel and Tourism week.